Can a billionaire playboy find love penniless in Manhattan?

My Father’s Will (aka A Special Promise) is a  Manhattan-based love story written, directed and produced in 2009  by a major NYC landlord. Landlord as auteur? Who knew? Part Cinderalla story/ part fish out of water tale with the fish in this case being a billionaire playboy pretending to be poor, the film was shown at Sundance and stars Ron Silver in his last screen role. Mr. Big didn’t exploit his power and property pedigree to publicize this film so neither will I. It looks good.


“I’ll take Manhattan…” but will luxury landlords take you? And we reveal Frank Gehry’s real name.

In NYC, the concept of a “luxury”  building is elastic and can be anything with a pulse and a doorman or something truly spectacular like Frank Owen Goldberg’s 8 Spruce Street tower, “New York”. (Like Norma Jean Baker and Archibald Leach, Frank wasn’t always Gehry). Here’s what it takes now, to get an apartment in the city:

Rental Application Checklist

  • Personal reference letters
  • Business reference letters
  • If employed by company: Letter from employer (on company letterhead) stating income, title, bonus structure, and length of employment.
  • If self-employed: Letter from CPA stating annual income.
  • Most recent pay stubs
  • Last two tax returns
  • Copy of driver’s license or passport
  • Credit check showing names, phone numbers, and addresses of your:
    • Employer
    • Banker
    • Accountant
    • Past landlords
    • Guarantor
  • Most recent bank and investment statements
  • Certified, local, or traveler’s checks for:
    • First month’s rent
    • Security deposit
    • Application fees ($25 – $400)

Elvis, two NYC-born landlords, and The Birth of Rock ‘n Roll on July 19, 1954

Elvis, New York, 1956
From Elvis at 21, Albert Wertheimer photograph

The Presley family’s 1st floor apt at 462 Alabama Ave in Memphis. The rent was $50.

Elvis and his landlord, the NYC rabbi’s wife, Jeanette Fruchter, Memphis circa 1953-1954

Yes,  this post is a bit of a stretch, but since it involves  NYC-born landlords, rock (and Elvis),  I can’t help myself. My friends will not be surprised. –Landlordrocknyc

From an Elvis fan site: “The two-store Victorian brick building on Alabama Avenue with a sweeping front porch, was home to the Presleys from April 1953  until late 1954. There were just two apartments in the house. The family paid $50.00 a month to rent a small apartment, payable to Mrs. Dubrovner, whose husband had been a kosher butcher in New York  and who lived down the street herself, and both Mrs. Dubrovner and the Presley’s upstairs neighbors, New York Orthodox  Rabbi Alfred Fruchter and his wife, Jeanette, showed a considerable amount of kindness, and financial consideration toward the new tenants.”

Vernon and Gladys occupied the only bedroom. Elvis’ grandmother Minnie Mae slept on a cot in the dining room. Elvis Presley took the couch each night. Mrs. Fruchter later told an interviewer, “They never had much. There wasn’t even a decent chair to sit down in. About all they had was this cheap little radio”. Mrs. Fruchter remembered Saturday afternoons when Elvis Presley and Vernon would polish Elvis’ ten-year-old Lincoln. Others recalled seeing Elvis Presley walk down the street with his guitar, his hair spilling over the collar of his pink shirt.”

The Presley family was living here when Elvis  made his first recording at Memphis Recording Service, (he paid $6 for the privilege)  during the summer of 1953 and when he got the first call from Marion Keisker phoning for Sam Phillips/Sun Records in 1954 . The Presley’s didn’t have a phone so Rabbi Fruchter took the call.

And on the day that rock ‘n roll began (with the Sun Record’s release of Elvis’ first record, That’s Alright Mama on July 19, 1954,)  his  NYC-born landlord and family friend Rabbi Fruchter lent him a phonograph so he could hear it.

That’s Alright Mama, July 19, 1954 .The first rock song ever.

My Happiness, $ 6  demo made by Elvis at Sun Records so he could hear his own voice on a recording.

.Rare Early Interview in NYC, 1956

Landlordrocknyc Top Ten List: NYC’s Worst Landlords & Tenants

Even in the crazy, complex ,Byzantine and often dysfunctional world of New York housing law, where landlords have  been known to pose  as adult children of the elderly tenants they are trying to evict and tenants litigate for their right to house lizards and snakes  and receive live bugs by mail to feed them, these beauties are in a NY league of their own:

NYC’s lousiest landlords according

to NYC Public Advocate Bill de Bassio:

NYC’s most terrible tenants according to

The Village Voice :

The Way They Were, NYC: Donald Trump

Trump is arguably New York’s (and the world’s)  most famous real estate guy. We joke about his hair. And so does he. But take a gander at the handsome  hunk of burning ambition that was a younger Donald Trump.

I don’t know which building he’s holding in his  gotta-have -it  NYC hands or the year of the photograph. If anyone does know, please comment below.Thanks. – Landlordrocknyc

“Urban steerage” at $ 2,000 a month…

“I think you’ll all agree that the apartment behind me is some place that one and two [person] households would be delighted to live in,” City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said.
Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden & the Mayor in a mock-up of a  300 sq. ft micro- unit. One blogger called the AdAPT NYC plan “urban steerage at $2,000(?) a month.” The name micro -unit reminds me of micro-financing for the poor. The idea is patronizing and terrible P.R. for NY. Similar to Ralph Lauren’s image-busting plan to make US Olympic uniforms in China and think no one would notice.

Sorry, Amanda & Mike. Diminished dreams and shrinking
spaces for all are not most city dwellers’ idea of a good New York Time.–Opinion, Landlordrocknyc

Amanda Burden’s mom, style icon Babe Paley, in New York in the 1950’s